Safety improvements achieved after roundabouts replaced traditional intersections across North Carolina:
- Total crashes: Down 46%
- Fatal and injury crashes: Down 76%
- Front-impact (head-on) crashes: Down 75%
Source: NCDOT’s Mobility and Safety Division (2011)
The N.C. Department of Transportation builds roundabouts to improve safety for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. They also help reduce the congestion and backups more typical of traditional intersections with stop signs and traffic signals.
A driver generally enters the roundabout more quickly than if waiting at a traffic signal. In addition, the modern roundabout is much smaller than older traffic circles and requires vehicles to travel at lower speeds (15-20 mph), making them safer than traffic circles.
Driving Through a Roundabout
A roundabout is easy to drive through once you understand how it works. As you approach it, you’ll see a yellow “roundabout ahead” sign, indicating you should slow down.
Drivers yield to any vehicles or bicyclists already in the roundabout. Everyone using the roundabout moves in a counterclockwise direction, and those already in it do not yield to approaching vehicles.
Drivers should use turn signals when exiting and yield to pedestrians using the crosswalk at the roundabout.
- Once inside the roundabout, you simply exit at the desired street.
- Travel a quarter of the way around to turn right at the next street.
- Go halfway around to continue straight.
- Instead of making a traditional left turn, go three-quarters around before exiting to the right.
- Travel full circle to make a U-turn.
- As you approach, observe signs and pavement markings to choose the appropriate lane before entering the roundabout.
- Typically, you will be in the right lane to exit right out of the roundabout.
- You stay in the left lane to go straight through the roundabout or make a left turn or U-turn.
- Do not change lanes while in the roundabout.
Roundabout Tips & Reminders